Curiosities

Spoon fountain
18 September, 2020 / ,

It will be one of the oldest fountains in the city. Not this one that we can see today at the bottom of Monte dos Judeus stairs, and should go back to the middle of the 19th century, but its predecessor, installed in the 13th century still on Miragaia beach, for community use.

The name “spoon” will come from the tax that had to be paid for the entry of products into the city (measured on a spoon); or according to other versions, by the spoon (wooden or metal) with which the water was given to drink. But the current fountain remains a relic, with its granite structure and strangely finished off with the balcony of a house. It is classified as a public interest property, but deserved better visibility.

Its water was once considered “the best in quality that the city had”. We can access the antiquity of this fountain by reading the legend, now almost imperceptible, that was engraved on the headstone “Praise the Most Holy Sacrament and the Most Holy Conception of the Virgin Our Lady, conceived without original sin. 1629. The water from this fountain is from the city

Source: O Tripeiro 7th series Year XXXVII Number 3 March 2018

The statue that, has the name of the city
17 September, 2020 / ,

In the very central Praça da Liberdade, more precisely at the confluence with Rua Dr. Artur de Magalhães Basto next to the Banco de Portugal Building, a statue is installed, nowadays seen drawn and photographed not only by the thousands of people who visit us, but equally by so many locals in their routine passages, and who represents a warrior.

It has a number of peculiarities that in itself arouse some interest.
From the very beginning, the fact that it is possibly the one that most ‘strolled’ through the city. It is now and since 2013 in the place closest to the point where it was designed, which was the top of the triangular pediment of the façade of the palace that existed at the north top of the current Praça da Liberdade where the City Hall was installed for about one hundred years until its demolition in 1916 for the opening of the then Avenida das Nações Aliadas, now Avenida dos Aliados. At that time it was dismounted and placed next to the Episcopal Palace and later on next to the Medieval Wall. Later it was removed again, this time to the Gardens of the Palácio de Cristal until the architect Fernando Távora, in the renovation work of Casa dos 24, installed it in Terreiro da Sé until finally being deposited in the place where it is today.

Another curious aspect is that we know that it was idealized and that is why it was often attributed to the Sculptor João de Sousa Alão but not made by him. He commissioned it from Mestre Pedreiro João Silva, who was actually its author.

The initial idea was to adorn that palace that until then had been a private residence, with symbols that identified it with the new functions of the Headquarters of the City Hall. And so this warrior was conceived with his weapons and a helmet topped by a dragon, as well as a shield where, in addition to the inscription Portus Cale, the Weapons of the City itself appear. For all these reasons, this work received the name of the city itself that symbolizes: “Porto”.

One last reference has to do with the costs and payment contract, because according to the documents of the municipal accounts of that year of 1818, it should be settled in 3 times the amount of… 343 $ 20. If we do not count on the obvious updates, this value corresponds to about € 1.60…

Christmas Nativity
23 December, 2019 / , ,

Joaquim Machado de Castro (Coimbra, 1731 – 1822) was one of the most important and renowned Portuguese sculptors, having also been one of the
most influential in Europe in the 18th and early 19th centuries. He produced several Christmas Nativity Scenes, so much so that the oldest Nativity scene in the city of Porto, which dates back to the 18th century, is his own, and it is possible to visit it in the Church of São José das Taipas. But, also, in the Church of Corpo Santo de Massarelos it is possible to see one more of his beautiful Christnas Nativity Scenes. His work isspread throughout the country.

Amor de Perdição – the tragic story of an impossible love
3 December, 2019 / ,

Amor de Perdição is a novel written by Camilo Castelo Branco, in 1862, which narrates the tragic story of young love.  The tale, based on true facts, was written when Camilo was imprisoned and living a forbidden love himself.

It is one of the most renowned romances in Portuguese literature. The book has already been translated into several languages and adapted to the cinema four times, including a version directed by the famed Manoel de Oliveira. Amor de Perdição is also the name of the street where the current Centro Português de Fotografia stands (Portuguese Photography Centre), and a former prison (Cadeia da Relação do Porto) where Camilo Castelo Branco wrote his most famous work whilst awaiting trial for adultery. The name of the street is thus a tribute to the illustrious book.

Camilo Castelo Branco had been accused with adultery: he fell in love with Ana Plácido; her husband found out and charged both lovers for adultery. Both were arrested, trialled and later acquitted. They later married, but didn’t live happily ever after. Camilo committed suicide in 1890 after living his last few years blind and disease-ridden. Whilst in prison, the writer found in the jail’s logs details for a story their family had once told him: of his uncle Simão Botelho, imprisoned and convicted to exile for murdering a rival in a love relationship.

From then on, Camilo wrote the story of Simão e Teresa, born into rival families from Viseu. A forbidden love, which resembles Romeo and Juliet, with an equally tragic ending. Teresa was to marry a cousin, Baltasar Coutinho, who she rejected due to her love for Simão. Hurt, Baltasar convinced her lover’s dad to send her to the Convento de Monchique, in Porto. Interestingly, the convent building is still there however very degraded.

Desperate, Simão awaited his rival outside the city of Viseu and shot and killed his rival. He turned himself in and was imprisoned at the Cadeia da Relação do Porto, until convicted of exile in India. On the way, and whilst sailing by the Convent, he was able to see the figure of his lover who died seconds later consumed by grief.  After Simão found out about Teresa’s death, he too died. Camilo’s uncle didn’t have such a tragic ending since he made it to exile where he lived until his death. But the story of the tragic love was forever perpetuated in the pages of the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apolo Terrasse – The forgotten movie theater
7 November, 2019 / , , ,

Few remember this movie theater, built at the beginning of the 20th century and demolished in the late 1940s to give way to the current Rua de Ceuta. The Apolo Terrasse came at a time when the cinema was gaining popularity.

At first, the films started out by being projected in shacks or in arge stores in the city, but, as the public’s interest increased and the film production
diversified, specific spaces for film viewing were built. Most of these places of entertainment are now just memories. One of them was the Apolo Terrasse, which was built in 1912. It was located where Rua de Ceuta is today and its main access was through Rua José Falcão. It had two more
entrances: one on the ground floor of a house in Rua de Santa Teresa and another through the middle of backyards that descended to Rua da Picaria. Despite its discreet location and decorative simplicity, the building stood out for its large, imposing iron structure, which served as a vestibule.

The Apolo Terrasse was also built so that it could be used for other types of shows and sporting events.
On the other hand, the two floor construction, connected by two staircases and lateral balconies, brought great concern due to fire prevention.
The lighting, made by globe-shaped lamps, was another element of modernity in this space.

Source: O Tripeiro, 7ª Série, Ano XXXV, Número 1,
janeiro e fevereiro de 2016.

Luís I Bridge: a sanitation issue
11 August, 2019 / ,

The Luís I bridge, one of the most emblematic structures of the city of Porto, was built in the 19th century and is now considered a World Heritage Site. However, in the mid-twentieth century, the bridge began to show disturbing signs of corrosion due, in particular, to the passage of the tram in the upper board of the bridge.

But there was another corrosion problem. At night, many of the men who frequented bars, both in Porto and Ribeira, used the end of the bridge board to pee.

In 1954, Edgar Cardoso was in charge of the recovery works of the bridge and arranged a brilliant solution to end the corrosion and the nauseating smell. The engineer, taking advantage of the color of the bridge, put metal plates with a slight fold at the end of the bridge tray. Which means that at night, anyone who sought to satisfy their needs in that same place would end up with the “pee”, directly, to their pants.

Discreet but effective, still to this day.

Duque da Ribeira – Symbol and meaning, witness and protagonist of the life of Ribeira
9 August, 2019 / , ,

If you stroll through the Ribeira area, which you will have to do if you come to Porto, it is very likely that you will cross the statue in honor of Deocleciano Monteiro (exact location is at Rua Cimo
do Muro, 12, next to Ponte D . Luís).
If the name tells you absolutely nothing, don’t worry! The same will happen to most people from Porto! But almost everyone will be able to tell you who the “Duque da Ribeira” was, a name by which he has always been and become known. In fact, it is the tradition that it was the mother herself who, in view of the difficulty in pronouncing the name Deocleciano, treated him as “Duke”.
Born in Porto on March 24, 1902 and died on November 9, 1996, the Duke was born and always lived in Ribeira, until his death, being an inseparable and absolutely charismatic figure throughout the twentieth century.

At only 11 years old, he saved a person from drowning in the river. Since then, this heroic brand has never left him, despite his modesty and extreme humility.
The Duke grew up in the river, where all his life there was a boatman. He knew the Douro, its waters, its currents, its life, like no one else! This, coupled with his courage and physical agility and the fact that he is an excellent swimmer, has allowed him throughout his life to save many people from drowning in the sometimes treacherous waters of the river and in other cases from rescue the bodies of those who lost their lives there. Hundreds of people owe their lives – literally – to Duque da Ribeira!
He was also responsible for teaching many children from Ribeira to swim!
Docker, sailor and even actor !, the Duke’s popularity was immense, and it is no wonder that his autograph book contains the signatures of several presidents of the republic and even Queen Elizabeth II of England!

For all this, and finally, a warning: if you venture into the waters of the Douro, do so carefully! We no longer have our Duke guarding the river! He who, according to Mestre José Rodrigues’ bust that would forever perpetuate on the banks of the Douro his memory and the tribute of the city, was “symbol and meaning, witness and protagonist of Ribeira life”.

Did you know that… Parque da Cidade of Porto is the only urban park in Europe with a seafront?
8 August, 2019 / ,

With a total area of 83 hectares and around 10km, Parque da Cidade of Porto is the largest urban park in the country and the only one in Europe with a seafront.

The park was designed by the landscape architect Sidónio Pardal, having been inaugurated in 1993 (1st phase) and finished in 2002. In the year 2000, the park was selected by the Ordem dos Engenheiros as one of the “100 most notable works built in the 20th century in Portugal”.

Between lakes, varied fauna and flora, Parque da Cidade also hosts complementary equipment such as Pavilhão da Água and Queimódromo.

Sereias Stairs
29 June, 2019 / ,

Between Largo da Alfândega and Rua da Bandeirinha, there is a path that reveals the secrets of the old part of the city of Oporto.

The Sereias Stairs, in the popular neighborhood of Miragaia, took the name of the neighboring Sereias Palace. The palace of the mid-eighteenth century was a city residence to the family Cunha Osório Portocarrero and owes its name to the large sculptures that adorn its façade.

From the bustle of traffic on the Arrábida Bridge to the tranquility of the Douro river, the top of the staircase allows us to feel the city and its sounds.

THE MESSENGER, by IRENE VILAR
13 February, 2019 / ,

A statue planted by the river that brings hope to the city of Porto

Irene Vilar was born in Matosinhos in 1930 and is the owner of a vast work in many countries such as Germany, South Africa, Brazil, Belgium, Holland and Macau. Distinguished throughout the life with several prizes, the artist affirmed itself in diverse areas like the sculpture, numismatics, medalhística and painting. It was about five decades of artistic production and affirmation that won him several prizes and distinctions

The artist had since very young a great connection to Foz do Douro, where she lived from the age of 19 and where she set up her atelier.

One of her most emblematic works is undoubtedly “The Messenger”. Sculpture in bronze – one her materials of choice -, expressionistic, majestically marks the bank of the Douro River next to Cais de Sobreiras, in Foz do Douro.

Inaugurated in 2001, “The Messenger”, or “The Angel” as is commonly known by the people of Porto, brought, according to the author ” good hope to the city of Porto.” Maybe that’s why it has become almost a place of worship, where people lay flowers and candles at its feet.

Irene Vilar died at the age of 77 in 2008.